One of the great things about traveling is of course getting to experience great foods that you would not normally eat in your hometown. I certainly try to experience as much different food as possible and most of the time I am glad I did. I often push the limit on places, eating at “holes in the wall” that probably would receive a “F” rating on the hygiene rating system in the USA. But adventure is adventure and as they say “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Eating some foods, one can certainly gain at least a few pounds. Malabo has about a dozen places that most travelers would feel safe visiting and then there are probably another dozen or so that most would probably not eat at during a short stay in town. But for folks like me, after months here, we are always looking for new places to try.
The “Hole in the Wall” fish restaurant I eat at once in a while would most certainly not be on Anthony Bourdain’s food-network program. It’s not only a “hole in the wall” but a first class one at that. It’s off the beaten-path a bit, not on a main street and I would probably miss it for sure if it wasn’t for the Heineken sign hanging out front. The place only serves two things, fish and fried plantains. As you enter, the fresh fish are in plastic pales on a table to the right. There are 3 sizes of fish and only one kind. Prices are 4,000 central african francs (CFA), 5,000 CFA and 6,000 CFA or about 8 to 12 US Dollars. After you pick out your fish and let the cook know, you seat yourself at one of the plastic tables and chairs. Make sure you pick a chair that has been reinforced with another chair stacked on top to avoid the legs from bending as you lean back, otherwise you will end up on the floor. I have actual seen that once before, a pretty funny sight! It’s certainly why almost all the chairs have been double reinforced. A young, attractive lady from Cameroon, stops by your table and takes your drink orders when she feels like it. An African “Futbol” game and African music videos are usually playing on the 2-1980s era televisions, of course with the volume turned up way too loud. The place is dark and smokey from the charcoal grill working overtime to cook the 10 or so fish stacked neatly one next to the other. Kind of like sardines in a can. Don’t worry, somehow you will actual get the fish you ordered, I don’t know how, but it eventually finds its way to your table. Served on a metal, cafeteria-type tray with onions, fried plantains, a spoonful of mayo and a side plate of “picante del pais”
(local hot sauce) your meal of fresh grilled fish is complete.
Above, the grill at my favorite, “Hole in the Wall” fish restaurant in Malabo.
Below, the meal ready for consumption!